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A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)
A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)

Andrew Gordon
  • Uses the themes of modernity and connectivity to examine modern Japanese history
  • Tells the story of modern Japan without reducing that history to stereotypes or platitudes
  • Devotes significant attention to the daily lives of ordinary people, women and men, and their political aspirations, as well as the ideas and strategies of ruling elites
  • Offers the most comprehensive treatment of the postwar era of any survey text
  • Provides the fullest treatment of social history in general, paying particular attention to women and gender relations
  • Focuses on modern Japan in a comparative and international context
  • Includes an extensive discussion of the 1990s and the early 21st century
  • Analyzes important recent developments in Japanese military/security policy, politics, and society in the 2010s, and an overall assessment of the three decades of the Heisei era (1989-2019)
  • Incorporates carefully chosen illustrations that help students to understand the material

New to this Edition:

  • Extensive additional discussions of topics in environmental history, including forestry and reforestation; dams and hydroelectric power; national parks, environmental protection, and exploitation in the twentieth century; the development of Hokkaido and its impact on the environment; earthquakes and tsunamis; and the impact of Japanese rule on the environment in Japan's colonies and occupied territories
  • New material on the place of the monarchy in education in the prewar and postwar eras
  • New perspectives on the reasons for Japan's surrender in 1945
  • Changes in employment practices since the 1980s
  • An extensive revision of the final chapter, retitled "Shock, Disaster, and the End of the Heisei Era: Beyond the 'Lost Decades'?"

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present, Fourth Edition, paints a richly nuanced and strikingly original portrait of the last two centuries of Japanese history. It takes students from the days of the shogunate--the feudal overlordship of the Tokugawa family--through the modernizing revolution launched by midlevel samurai in the late nineteenth century; the adoption of Western hairstyles, clothing, and military organization; and the nation's first experiments with mass democracy after World War I. Author Andrew Gordon offers the finest synthesis to date of Japan's passage through militarism, World War II, the American occupation, and the subsequent economic rollercoaster.


Maps, Tables, and Figures
Introduction: Enduring Imprints of the Longer Past

1. The Tokugawa Polity

The Tokugawa Political Settlements
The Daimyo
The Imperial Institution
The Samurai
Villagers and City-Dwellers
The Margins of the Japanese and Japan

2. Social and Economic Transformations
The Seventeenth-Century Boom
Riddles of Stagnation and Vitality

3. The Intellectual World of Late Tokugawa
Ideological Foundations of the Tokugawa Regime
Cultural Diversity and Contradictions
Reform, Critiques, and Insurgent Ideas

4. The Overthrow of the Tokugawa
The Western Powers and the Unequal Treaties
The Crumbling of Tokugawa Rule
Politics of Terror and Accommodation
Bakufu Revival, the Satsuma-Choshu Insurgency, and Domestic Unrest

5. The Samurai Revolution
Programs of Nationalist Revolution
Political Unification and Central Bureaucracy
Eliminating the Status System
The Conscript Army
Compulsory Education
The Monarch at the Center

Building a Rich Country
Stances toward the World

6. Participation and Protest
Political Discourse and Contention
Movement for Freedom and People's Rights
Samurai Rebellions, Peasant Uprisings, and New Religions
Participation for Women
Treaty Revision and Domestic Politics
The Meiji Constitution

7. Social, Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Transformations
Landlords and Tenants
Industrial Revolution
The Workforce and Labor Conditions
Spread of Mass and Higher Education
Culture and Religion
Affirming Japanese Identity and Destiny

8. Empire and Domestic Order
The Trajectory to Empire
Contexts of Empire, Capitalism, and Nation-Building
The Turbulent World of Diet Politics
The Era of Popular Protest
Engineering Nationalism

9. Economy and Society

Wartime Boom and Postwar Bust
Landlords, Tenants, and Rural Life
City Life: Middle and Working Classes
Cultural Responses to Social Change

10. Democracy and Empire between the World Wars
The Emergence of Party Cabinets
The Structure of Parliamentary Government
Ideological Challenges
Strategies of Imperial Democratic Rule
Japan, Asia, and the Western Powers

11. The Depression Crisis and Responses
Economic and Social Crisis
Breaking the Impasse: New Departures Abroad
Toward a New Social and Economic Order
Toward a New Political Order

12. Japan in Wartime
Wider War in China
Toward Pearl Harbor
The Pacific War
Mobilizing the Nation for War
Living in the Shadow of War
Ending the War
Burdens and Legacies of War

13. Occupied Japan: New Departures and Durable Structures
Bearing the Unbearable
The American Agenda: Demilitarize and Democratize
Japanese Responses
The Reverse Course
Toward Recovery and Independence: Another Unequal Treaty?

14. Economic and Social Transformations

The Postwar "Economic Miracle"
Transwar Patterns of Community, Family, School, and Work
Shared Experiences and Standardized Lifeways of the Postwar Era
Differences Enduring and Realigned
Managing Social Stability and Change
Images and Ideologies of Social Stability and Change

15. Political Struggles and Settlements of the High-Growth Era
Political Struggles
The Politics of Accommodation
Global Connections: Oil Crisis and the End of High Growth

16. Global Power in a Polarized World: Japan in the 1980s
New Roles in the World and New Tensions
Economy: Thriving through the Oil Crises
Politics: The Conservative Heyday
Society and Culture in the Exuberant Eighties

17. Japan's "Lost Decades": 1990s-2000s
The End of Showa
The Specter of a Divided Society
Economy of the first "Lost Decade"
The Fall and Rise of the Liberal Democratic Party
Assessing Reforms, Explaining Recovery
Between Asia and the West

18. Shock, Disaster, and the End of the Hesei Era: Beyond the 'Lost Decades'?
The Lehman Shock
Politics of Hope and Disillusionment
Making Sense of the Perception of Decline
The Disasters of "3.11" and their Aftermath

Appendix: Prime Ministers of Japan, 1885-2012
Select Bibliography

About the author: 

Andrew Gordon is Lee and Juliet Folger Fund Professor of History at Harvard University. He is the author of The Wages of Affluence: Labor and Management in Postwar Japan (1998), Labor and Imperial Democracy in Prewar Japan (1991), and The Evolution of Labor Relations in Japan: Heavy Industry, 1853-1955 (1985).

"This is THE textbook on modern Japanese history: it covers all the important events and developments in Japan's modern history. The book is well written and clearly organized, making the complexities of Japan's modern history accessible to students and general readers."--Max Ward, Middlebury College

"Beautifully written and argued by one of the eminent minds and stylists in the field. Gordon convincingly situates Japan on the stage of international history as a nation whose past must be understood to comprehend the history of the modern world."--Noell Wilson, University of Mississippi

"A Modern History of Japan is the best all-around textbook for modern Japanese history on the market."--Michael H. Chiang, Regis University

Product details

ISBN : 9780197507339

Andrew Gordon
464 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Mar 2020
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A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)

A Modern History of Japan: From Tokugawa Times to the Present (4th International Edition)